Yoho National Park includes 1,310 km 2 (507 sq. mi) of land and sits on the western slopes of the Rocky Mountains in B.C., and borders Banff National Park to the east and Kootenay National Park to the south. As well as sublime rock walls, waterfalls and glacial lakes, the park is also home to 28 peaks of over 3,000m—many of which are good to ski if the conditions are right. Yoho, which is a Cree word meaning “awe”, was established as a park in 1886. For last-minute supplies, you can stop in Field which is in the middle of the park and about 7 kms from the Emerald Lake trailhead described below.
The Alpine Club of Canada operates four huts in Yoho: Stanley Mitchell Hut in the Little Yoho Valley, Scott Duncan Memorial Hut on Mt. Daly, Elizabeth Parker Hut at Lake O'Hara, and Abbott Hut on the col between Mt. Victoria and Mt. Lefroy. As with Kananaskis Country, most people are in the park in wintertime to cross country ski or snow shoe. That doesn’t mean that there are no “ascent” oriented backcountry tours. As an example, the Stanley Mitchell Hut is in the middle of some awesome powder skiing terrain. As with any area, consider hiring a professional ski guide to acquaint you with Yoho and find the best routes for touring.
We want to hear about your adventures Yoho National Park so don’t forget to post a trip report in the backcountryskiingcanada.com forums. If you have a new route in the area you want to share, mouse-on over here. N-Joy.
The routes listed here provided by Mark Klassen at alpinism.com. If we have missed anything please let us know?
For a full listing of backcountry huts, cabins and lodges check out the Rocky Mountain cabins/huts/lodges page over here.
This is the long avalanche path on the south side of Emerald Peak. You can’t miss it from the shore of Emerald Lake.
This is a good tour to do on those cold Rockies days because it is south facing and you will be in the sun most of the day. The lowest slopes have a thick re-growth of “Christmas trees” (see photo) so it is best to have decent snow coverage--but don’t leave it too late in the season because you can get a nasty suncrust layer.
You need reasonably stable avalanche conditions before you venture all the way to the col. However, you can still do a lap or two on the lower slopes if you stop lower and limit your exposure to the big bowl at the top of the path.
From the parking area, cross the lake and climb the obvious avalanche path that flows all the way down to the lake. There are two tongues to the lower path; the one on climber’s right may be easier going. At about 1950m you begin to get more exposed to the upper bowl. If you feel it is safe, it is a straightforward ascent to continue to the 2400m col to the east of Emerald Peak. From here there is some excellent open bowl skiing until you rejoin the lower treed slopes.
ROUTE: Emerald Lake
ACCESS: From Lake Louise drive 27 km west on Highway 1 past the town of Field to the Emerald Lake Road. Turn right and follow this road 7 km to the parking area at Emerald Lake.
MAP: 82 N/7
TIME: 4 hours
ELEVATION GAIN: 1100m/3608’
ATES RATING: Complex (3)